Arsenal last 16 hopes still alive after Zagreb win
Matt Haynes | November 24, 2015
Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb
- Gunners respond to defeat in Croatia
- Ozil and Sanchez double give Arsenal victory
- Bayern beat Olympiakos handing Gunners last 16 hope
Gunners set the tone
Arsenal knew what they had to do here. With qualification hanging in the balance, the Gunners came out firing and in the mood, though Dinamo did offer early threats on the counter-attack.
With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil teasing their opponents, they pulled Zagreb one way and the other, patiently waiting for the the opportunity to strike, while on the continent, it took Bayern Munich just over 20 minutes to 3-0 up against Olympiakos in the other Champions League Group F match.
Not long after Arsenal crafted their first genuine opportunity. Nacho Monreal marauded down the left only to see his cross elude Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell.
On the double
Just like London buses, here in the capital, you wait nearly 30 minutes for a goal and two come in quick succession! First, great work from Sanchez after receiving a Mathieu Flamini cross-field ball, slid through to Ozil who tucked it into the bottom corner.
Then it was the turn of Sanchez. Combining excellently with Monreal, the Chilean accepted gratefully in the area to pick his spot and double the Gunners’ advantage. In the last moment of the half, it could have been three. It was Ozil again after more superb work from Monreal who found himself with an opportunity though was denied by the visiting goalkeeper.
The second half brought with it a stubborn resistance from the away side who battened down the hatches from the off. Minutes after the restart, Santi Cazorla stung the gloves of Eduardo from 25 yards, while moments later Olivier Giroud saw his header saved.
While Zagreb attempted to strike back, they couldn’t keep the ball long enough to create credible chances and Arsenal time and again launched counter-attacks.
Sanchez strikes again
While Aaron Ramsey replaced Giroud, Joel Campbell went close, before turning provider. His deft ball through to Sanchez was expertly guided into the net after gliding past the keeper to make it 3-0 to the home side.
However, Petr Cech was called into decisive action a few minutes later when ball bounced off Flamini and nearly wrong-footed the Arsenal keeper. Not long after Bayern went 4-0 up in Munich.
In the final 10 minutes, Arsenal were denied a penalty, while Hilal Soulani’s strike was ruled out for offside, though overall, it was a dominating performance from the Gunners to set up an intriguing group finale against Olympiakos in December.
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